Sunday, September 14, 2014

What if we could make a Star Trek Tricorder a Reality? Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition is Attempting to Make it So

In the Star Trek television shows & movies, the tricorder is a handy device that allows doctors to scan patients and receive an instant medical diagnosis. Called a "tricorder" because it is used for sensor scanning, data analysis and recording data; wouldn't it be nice if instead of this device just being a SciFi prop or a toy you can buy from ThinkGeek it was a real life medical tool?  Think of the possibilities of how this could help people.  Well now Qualcomm has partnered with the XPRIZE Foundation to try and make the Tricorder a reality!  Ten teams have been selected to compete for a $10 million prize awarded to the first to create a functional tricorder.

Imagine a portable, wireless device in the palm of your hand that could monitor and diagnose your health conditions.  That's the technology envisioned by this competition and will allow unprecedented access to personal health metrics.  The end goal of this competition:  Radical innovation in healthcare that will give individuals far greater choices in when, where, and how they receive care.  I thought the laser thermometer in my kids pediatrician's office used to take there temperatures by scanning their foreheads with a laser was incredible; this competition looks to push high-tech to make that device I considered futuristic look simplistic.  Qualcomm and the XPRIZE Foundation are asking for our help to assist these competing teams get over the finish line.  Are you up to lending a hand?!

Qualcomm is asking people to visit the competition's website to learn more about this effort and help spread the word about it so that world encouragement will help keep these teams motivated to accomplish the goal of making a tricorder a reality.  As part of the campaign to promote awareness of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition there is also a contest the rest of us can participate in.  People are encouraged to upload a Star Trek inspired photo on the website for the chance to win prizes.  Some photos will be randomly selected to win and other prizes will be awarded to those entries that get the most votes from the public.

As a parent, just think of how helpful this would be in the middle of the night when you have a crying baby or a young child throwing up or complaining of pains.  Every parent has to admit they've been in a medical situation with their child at some point where they really don't know what to do.  Do you page the pediatrician at 1am, take a trip to the emergency room or wait things out to the morning? A tricorder scan could alert you to what the problem is, suggest treatment options, or warn you that this is a situation where you really do need to rush to the emergency room.  How wonderful would that be!  J.J. Abrams who directed the recent Star Trek motion pictures addressed some of the practical applications of a real life tricorder in this interview posted by the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition:

Let's wish these teams Warp Speed in completing their mission!

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